Card News Updates: Mastercard Inc (MA) & Visa Inc (V)’s Antitrust Allegations, American Express Company (AXP)’s Publishing Arm

Editor’s Note: Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA), Visa Inc (NYSE:V), American Express Company (NYSE:AXP), Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX), Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX)

Visa-MasterCard Judge to Weigh Final Approval of Fee Deal (Bloomberg)
Visa Inc (NYSE:V) and Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) will ask a judge to put to rest antitrust allegations that have plagued the companies for years over fees that are paid by U.S. merchants to support the credit card networks. U.S. District Judge John Gleeson in Brooklyn, New York, will hear arguments today over whether to grant final approval to a multibillion-dollar class-action settlement on behalf of merchants nationwide. Opposed by scores of big-box retailers and other consumer businesses, the accord is aimed at ending future court battles with U.S. merchants over the practice of setting credit card interchange payments, known as swipe fees.

Visa Inc (NYSE:V)

Nigeria: Visa to Shift Focus On Nigeria’s Tourism Sector (
The global payments technology company, Visa Inc (NYSE:V) is focusing on shifting its investment into Nigeria’s tourism sector and West African region. “Another of Visa’s focus areas in Nigeria and the West African region is to continue to boost tourism and cross border spend, Group Executive for Visa’s CEMEA (Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa) region, Mr. Kamran Siddiqi said. Siddiqi said this during his official visit to the country, saying, “Growing acceptance of Visa Inc (NYSE:V) cards in Nigeria is making travel to the country easier. We are collaborating with many key players in the tourism industry.”

Time Inc. buys AmEx’s Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure magazines (
Time Inc., the largest magazine publisher in the U.S., acquired American Express Company (NYSE:AXP)’s publishing arm, which includes titles such as Food & Wine and Travel + Leisure. Time Inc. also adds Departures, Black Ink and Executive Travel to its roster of 21 titles, the publisher announced Tuesday in a statement. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. The magazine company is preparing to spin off from Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) in the first quarter of 2014. Time Warner Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Bewkes announced plans in March to separate Time Inc. — his worst-performing division — after an unsuccessful effort to create a joint venture with Meredith Corp., publisher of women’s titles such as Ladies’ Home Journal.

MasterCard (MA) Numbers Raised at FBR after Upbeat Investors Day (
FBR Capital reiterated an Outperform rating on Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) and boosted its price target from $640 to $690, citing increased FY14 EPS estimate and increased confidence in the company’s ability to achieve targeted EPS growth. The firm is maintaining FY13 EPS estimate of $25.85 and increasing our FY14 EPS estimate from $30.60 to $31.13 on slightly higher revenue and a lower projected tax rate.

Visa offers Brazil World Cup packages (TravelMole)
Visa Inc (NYSE:V), a worldwide partner of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, is offering official ticket-inclusive hospitality packages online to see Australia play at the tournament. Packages are available online to Visa cardholders until midnight (AEST) September 30. Packages include Category 1 match tickets, access to a hospitality tent located within the stadium security perimeter areas, and a hospitality service with snacks and drinks before and after match.

American Express Becomes #16 Most Shorted Dow Stock, Replacing Chevron (Forbes)
In our new rank based on the most recent short interest data from NASDAQ, American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) has taken over the position of #16 most shorted Dow component, from Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) which is now in the #14 spot. The “days to cover” at 08/30/2013 was 2.98 for American Express Company (NYSE:AXP), and 3.04 for CVX; this compares to the average across all Dow components of 3.58.

Recommended Reading:

Mastercard Inc (MA), American Express Company (AXP): Does Visa Inc (V) Deserve to Be in the Dow?

The Fed Fights for Visa Inc (V) and Mastercard Inc (MA)

American Express Company (AXP)’s Prepaid Cards, Mastercard Inc (MA) & Visa Inc (V)’s Antitrust Settlement